Kodiak Island: The Ultimate Deer Hunt, Part One

bear5There is no other place in the world where you can experience the ultimate wilderness, beautiful scenery, get more adventure for your buck and kill multiple deer than on Kodiak Island. The second largest island in the U.S. (Hawaii being the largest), Kodiak is home to an awesome population of Sitka blacktail deer, but many considerations must be made before hunting there.

Getting to Kodiak is relatively easy but it does take a little money. You can choose to fly on one of the few scheduled airlines in Alaska or you can take a ferry which depart from the mainland at a few different locations.

Logistically, Kodiak offers a good variety of options for where you want to base your hunt from. Some people like to stay at lodges where they can be transported by boat to new hunting areas each day. Another popular option is to go on a vessel-based hunt where you stay on a large live-aboard boat with other hunters and get transported to daily hunting areas by skiff each day. The most popular and probably the most successful way to deer hunt there is to have a transporter fly you out to a remote location and set up your own camp. However, this is not recommended unless you have superior gear and some serious outdoor experience.

During a hunt, Brown bears can be everywhere and they can be nowhere, so you will have to spend your entire hunt being careful and avoiding costly mistakes in your daily dealings with them. Bears aren’t the only nasty living thing that you will have to contend with. Thick alder brush will torment you daily unless you can hunt in areas where the brush is not too bad. Larsen and Zachor bays are notorious for the thick stuff, but the good news is that once you fight your way through it or climb above it, you will be in good deer hunting country.

If you are hunting with a rifle, you will need to consider upgrading calibers if at all possible.  Sitka bucks are not as large as the hefty Whitetails or Mule deer found in the lower 48, so you won’t need anything special for them, but you might want to have a larger caliber for protection against the bears. A lot of hunters who live in Alaska hunt deer with .338 or something larger just in case they need the firepower, so it is something to think about.